Talk to, Don't Provoke, North Korea

Remember this the next time someone asks, "Can we trust North Korea?" The more appropriate question is whether North Korea can trust the U.S. government.

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HOW HWEE YOUNG/EPA/Newscom

There's little more we can do than hope that some cool heads around Donald Trump are telling him he'd be nuts to attack North Korea. I don't know who they might be. Still, we must hope.

It doesn't take a lifetime of study to know that, fortunately, no military resolution of the standoff is available. Ten million South Koreans live within artillery reach of the capital of Seoul, some 30 miles from the demilitarized zone separating North and South. Nearly 30,000 U.S. military personnel are around there too. North Korea has thousands of underground and undersea military facilities that American bombs and missiles would not find. A conventional U.S. attack would be catastrophic, and a nuclear attack far, far worse, for the horrifying effects would spill over to China and Japan.

So what would be accomplished? Nothing good. That's for sure.

Where, then, is the Trump from a year ago? You know, the one who said, "I would speak to him [North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un]. I would have no problem speaking to him"? As we well know, there are many Donald Trumps. Well, that's the one we need now. Instead we have sabre-rattling Trump, along with Vice President Pence and others on the national-security squad.

The two governments have much to talk about. (Alas, as long as we're stuck with the Westphalian system, we must make the best of it.) First things first. And by first, I mean peace.

Yes, Kim, like his father and grandfather before him, is a tyrant. But when has that ever stopped an American president from dealing with—and often befriending—a ruler? Never. American presidents have allied with some of the most ruthless heads of states of the 20th century. Trump recently entertained a tyrant—al-Sisi of Egypt—at the White House, praising him profusely. Then he called the head of Turkey—Erdogan—to congratulate him on expanding his autocratic powers through the ballot box. Nixon went to meet Mao Zedong, one of the great mass murderers in history, to open normal relations with what we once called Red China.

Kim and North Korea, therefore, are not unique in that respect. But they are unique in another way. The U.S. government fought an undeclared war—sorry, police action—alongside South Korea's own tyrant, Syngman Rhee, against North Korea and Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, from 1950 to 1953 because President Harry Truman didn't want the Republicans saying he "lost Korea." The U.S. Air Force obliterated the country through carpet bombing after Truman decided atomic bombs were not practical, in contrast to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, a few years earlier. The bombing and shooting stopped with an armistice, but no peace treaty was ever signed to formally end the war. For decades, the North Korean government has sought that treaty and a nonaggression pact with the U.S. government, but the requests always fell on deaf ears.

Finally, in 1994 President Bill Clinton reached an agreement with the North Korean government. First, a little more background. A decade earlier North Korea had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), agreeing not to develop nuclear weapons and making it subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). But North Korea refused to give the IAEA access to information and suspected sites, so the agency found North Korea in noncompliance with its NPT agreement in 1993 on suspicion that it held undeclared plutonium. North Korea then announced plans to leave the NPT.

Things looked bleak until North Korea asked to meet with the U.S. government to settle their disputes. The Clinton administration agreed—on the condition that the IAEA have all they access it had sought. North Korea eventually agreed. In turn the administration called off annual war games with South Korea—North Korea had insisted on that—and began negotiations. Clinton also conditioned the talks on continued IAEA access and North Korean negotiations with South Korea.

Under the resulting "Agreed Framework," North Korea would convert its nuclear industry from heavy- to light-water reactors for power generation. In the meantime the U.S. government would provide it oil for heat and electricity. In addition the governments would normalize political and economic relations, and the U.S. government would forswear the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, which would remain a party to the NPT, with all this implied for IAEA inspections.

All of this was most promising. North Korean froze its plutonium program beyond Clinton's tenure, until 2002, and the administration, writes historian Bruce Cumings, "in October 2000, had indirectly worked out a deal to buy all of its medium- and long-range missiles. Clinton also signed an agreement with Gen. Jo Myong-rok stating that henceforth, neither country would bear 'hostile intent' toward the other."

However, as Fareed Zakaria writes, "the brief effort at cooperation during the Clinton years was halfhearted, with Washington failing to fulfill some of its promises to North Korea. In any event, the rapprochement was quickly reversed by the George W. Bush administration." As Cumings puts it, "The Bush administration promptly ignored [the] agreements and set out to destroy the 1994 freeze." Mike Chenoy adds, "After a review of Korea policy, Bush declined to reaffirm the communique pledging 'no hostile intent.' Meanwhile, leading conservatives in his administration—Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of State John Bolton and others—actively sought to torpedo the Agreed Framework."

Recall that Bush's 2002 State of the Union speech included North Korea in his infamous "axis of evil" after the administration alleged—without providing evidence—that North Korea had abrogated the agreement. "The results have been clear," Zakaria writes. "North Korea has continued to build its nuclear program and engage in provocative tests. As isolation and sanctions have increased in recent years, Pyongyang has only become more confrontational." It pulled out of the NPT and embarked on its current program to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Gordon Prather writes, "With the Agreed Framework unilaterally abrogated and its associated shipments of American fuel-oil permanently halted, the Koreans apparently felt they had no choice but to withdraw from the NPT, rip off the IAEA seals and padlocks, restart their plutonium-producing reactor and resume recovery of weapons-grade plutonium."

As Cumings writes, "The simple fact is that Pyongyang would have no nuclear weapons if Clinton's agreements had been sustained."

A later attempt in the Bush years to deal with North Korea in a multilateral context that included Russia and China bore no fruit. (The new effort began when Condoleezza Rice's State Department had gained an advantage over Vice President Dick Cheney. At one point it included removing North Korean from the terrorism list.) In 2009 Prather noted that "what China and Russia have been attempting to do, since 2005, via the Six-Party talks, is to help clean up the mess Bush-Cheney-Bolton made on the neighboring Korean peninsula."

The problem was that North Korea had been given no reason to trust the U.S. government. Prather described the context of "Second Phase Actions" of October 2007: the purpose was "to effectively re-instate the Agreed Framework of 1994, except that now North Korea has–somewhere—at least a half-dozen plutonium-239 based nukes, definitely not under IAEA padlock or seal. Furthermore, North Korea is no longer a signatory to the NPT. Hence, North Korea is under no international obligation to give up its nuke stockpile."

Bush-Cheney-Bolton had indeed made a royal mess of things. Remember this the next time someone asks, "Can we trust North Korea?" The more appropriate question is whether North Korea can trust the U.S. government.

Decades of embargos and other attempts to isolate North Korea have failed to destabilize the regime or change its policies. Every administrations' expectation that the government would fall have been dashed. Thus more of the same, including efforts to have China join in isolating North Korea, won't work. We should recall how U.S. economic warfare against Imperial Japan turned out: it resulted in a (hoped-for) attack on the United States, specifically, its naval fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Let us dispense, once and for all, with the idea that Kim is a madman. Brutality is not madness, and a madman wouldn't be expected to capitulate to economic pressure. He shows every sign of wanting his regime to endure, which means he would not want the U.S. military or nuclear arsenal to pulverize it. Assuming rationality in this context asserts only that Kim's means are reasonably related to his ends. For example, Kim shows every sign of having learned the lesson of recent U.S. regime-change policies toward Iraq and Libya, neither of which were nuclear states. Same with Syria, whose regime has been targeted by the U.S. government. The lesson is: if you want to deter a U.S. attack, get yourself some nukes.

The upshot is that negotiation of a clear nonaggression pact and a U.S. renunciation of preemptive war and the use of nuclear weapons has a good chance of succeeding. This is the way to go. Meanwhile, Trump should withdraw the America troops. That would be a good start in liquidating the empire.

This piece was originally published by The Libertarian Institute.

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  1. How about instead the US withdraw all its troops from South Korea and then ignore North Korea?

    1. The upshot is that negotiation of a clear nonaggression pact and a U.S. renunciation of preemptive war and the use of nuclear weapons has a good chance of succeeding. This is the way to go. Meanwhile, Trump should withdraw the America troops. That would be a good start in liquidating the empire.

      That’s kinda what Richman said.

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    2. If we do that, who will fluff my warboner?

      sin,
      John Bolton, etc.

    3. Normally I would agree with you and ignoring Nutz Korea is an option.

      Korea is one of the few areas that America’s policy allowed to be divided and stay divided. Truman was not sure the bomb would work on Japan, so at Potsdam the USA asked for the USSR for help. The USSR swarmed Manchuria and Korea in the closing days of WWII. The USA was the only nation that had the atomic bomb in 1945 and could have pushed the USSR out.

      Then Nutz Korea invades South Korea with assistance from the USSR and China and the USA intervenes militarily but refuses to win, leading to a divided Korea again.

      Now Nutz Korea is threatening and is trying to get missiles to reach the USA. At some point they will have technology to reach the USA.

      The question really is: do we wait for a attack, which will happen or preempt the attack?

      Trump is leveraging China to work Nutz Korea over since a war in Korea would draw in China and then the USA could invalidate the debt with China.

      1. The question really is: do we wait for a attack, which will happen or preempt the attack?

        Link needed for the confident assertion that the current or possible future dictator of NK will absolutely, without any question, nuke the U.S., despite knowing what the response will be.

        1. They won’t. It would be national suicide and everyone, absolutely everyone, knows that.

          If Dear Reader were to go absolutely bonkers and give any such orders, he would be dead. His aides and generals and everybody who actually executes his orders like their luxury life way too much to commit national suicide in an unprovoked attack. If attacked, by which I mean actually invaded or bombed, they might well figure there was no choice. But to start an unprovoked attack? Not a chance.

          1. They won’t. It would be national suicide and everyone, absolutely everyone, knows that.

            Sanity, thy name is North Korea.

          2. North Korea already attacked South Korea, knowing the USA would intervene because there were US troops stationed in S. Korea after WWII. They hoped to control the Korean peninsula before the USA could bring full force to bear and they almost succeeded.

            It was unprovoked. So your little theory that N. Korea would never start an unprovoked attack is just not true. Maybe they won’t attack because…years later and new leader…. maybe.

            So the question is do we fix this once and for all or wait and let Kim get intercontinental ballistic missiles. As someone who lived through bomb shelter drills, waiting for attack seems stupid to me.

          3. Does it look like the Kim’s care about the North Korean “nation” to you? Lot’s of individuals are suicidal. How do you know that Un is not?

          4. Does it look like the Kim’s care about the North Korean “nation” to you? Lot’s of individuals are suicidal. How do you know that Un is not?

        2. North Korea has sent ballistic missiles in trajectories toward the USA. Kim could have directed them south into the East China Sea. He has actively said that he will nuke the USA. You are right though, there is no absolute guarantee that N. Korea will attack the USA. N. Korea has committed acts that would easily have given the USA casus belli like the invasion of South Korea where US troops were stationed 1950, the USS Pueblo attack 1968 and Panmunjom axe murder incident 1976.

          I think China is a military threat to the USA too but in a far different way. China has not said they want to nuke the USA, nor sent ballistic missiles in a path that would be practice to attacking the USA. The USA and China will probably only fight over Taiwan being attacked by China.

          N. Korea cannot effectively nuke the USA yet, so Kim is buying time until he can nuke the USA. Then what is the USA supposed to do? Wait for Kim to use his nukes as a threat while invading S. Korea? Letting N. Korea have nukes and intercontinental ballistic missiles is a mistake.

          Luckily, the USA does not have to go war but can use threat of war to get China to reign in N. Korea. China cannot go to war with the USA. The USA would cancel its Trillions in debt with China and destroy China’s military at will by keeping China from attacking the USA across the Pacific. Its a lose-lose for China. China is certainly not going to go to full war over N. Korea.

    4. Sure, it makes perfect sense to withdraw after fucking up the situation for decades. That’ll be a great way to retain allies.

      This is the problem with an interventionist approach that has been the hallmark of the US foreign policy. Intervene promising or hoping for a quick resolution and then… quagmire. Or continuing and growing unrest in the region.

      But you could get lucky like in Viet Nam.

      Bet you China gains the trading partner S. Korea will cut off.

      1. What have our ”allies” ever done for us?

        Can we finally learn a lesson from one of our overseas adventures and get out?

        So we must jump to the Communist Chinese command? Some people years ago warned that feeding the Tiger would get complicated and expensive, but others just wanted access to the Communist sweatshops.

    5. So……let NK conquer SK?

  2. Appeasement does not work. NK is not interested in talks, they have been saber rattling for years. One nuke on Pyongyang would settle their hash. Even China is getting fed up with Kim Jong-un and his empty threats.

    1. You can’t nuke North Korea except as a last resort unless you want to go to war with China. That would be the stupidest damn thing that we could do.

      1. Not advocating for a preempt nuclear strike but, how do you know that China would sacrifice itself to avenge Kim Un?

    2. If they’re “empty threats” then what the hell is anyone worried about?

      1. its almost like the republicans and the democrats lots of yelling for the theater but no real action. North Korea and the U.S. need each other as enimies for our leaders to look like they have a purpose in life outside of our own countries

    3. Yes, because one nuke in Pyongpang will have no nuclear fallout, and we do not care about the artillery bombardment of Seoul that would kill millions (yes, millions) in a matter of 5-7 hours.

    4. Also, appeasement has worked. Seoul has not been attacked.

      Yeah, that’s a bit much for your ego perhaps, but even Drumpf is not that stupid.

      1. Appeasement always ends badly.

        1. Well except for appeasing the USSR by allowing Korea to be divided along the 38th Parallel (N. Korea later invaded S. Korea)
          and except with Hitler and Munich agreement (Hitler attacked Poland)
          and except with Kim Jung-il and Bill Clinton’s agreement letting N. Korea develop a breeder reactor (N. Korea gained vital high yield Uranium for nukes)
          and except for Paris Peace accords 1973 (N. Vietnam invaded S. Vietnam)

          North Korea wants to obtain S. Korea’s wealth of industry and population to keep the Commie regime going.

          Do we solve it now with China’s help or kick the can again?

  3. Throw some food aid at them, maybe they’ll promise to give up their nuclear ambitions.

    1. Or better, stop throwing food aid at them, let them starve to death.
      Food aid empowers the worst elements of that tyrannical shit-hole. “Oh, the poor starving peasants”. Indeed. But food aid does not and will not reach them. it feeds the leaders and the troops and the prison guards.
      Stop feeding them. Let them starve.

      1. As much as I’d like to disagree with you, I think you’re right. The NK government would NEVER allow it’s people to know that the USA was feeding them, take some stuff for the elites, and most likely the soldiers. the rest would rot in warehouses.

        1. I’d like to disagree with me, too. But the facts are against us.
          NK is demonstrably starving its people. Food aid is, thus, demonstrably, not getting to those who need it.
          It is going to those who wear the boots that are firmly planted on the faces of the peasants.
          Let the military and nuclear researchers starve. They’re the ones the food aid is feeding, and that is so deeply, grossly, offensive as to be unsupportable.
          Providing food aid to NK is actively supporting the resources that are oppressing the people the food aid is intended for. We should stop. Regardless of whether others continue to provide, or begin to provide, food aid, one less moral stain on us is one less moral stain.

          1. “NK is demonstrably starving its people.”

            You should be more skeptical about US propaganda. Don’t be so willing to believe everything they tell you on FOX or CNN. I don’t think there is any evidence that North Korea is “demonstrably starving its people.”

            1. Don’t be so willing to believe everything they tell you on FOX or CNN. I don’t think there is any evidence that North Korea is “demonstrably starving its people.”

              Do you think North Korean defectors are plausible only if they avoid appearing on television?

              1. “Do you think North Korean defectors are plausible only if they avoid appearing on television?”

                Once the South Korean security services are finished with them, these defectors are no longer plausible. They become pawns in a propaganda game. If there really is starvation in North Korea, there would be other indications other than defectors. That was the way it was back in the 90s when there really was massive starvation.

                1. Once the South Korean security services are finished with them, these defectors are no longer plausible.

                  so you’re saying you don’t believe ANY defectors from NK.

                  What evidence would you consider plausible, if any? describe the specific conditions for evidence you would find compelling.

                  I mean, i’m assuming you think the whole of the UN is in on the scam too, since they had monitors observing famine in NK during the 1990s.

                  just curious how stubborn your retardation is.

                  1. “so you’re saying you don’t believe ANY defectors from NK.”

                    I wouldn’t say that, not having met or spoken to any. I would say that I am deeply skeptical of any stories cooked up by the South Korean intelligence agency and published in the news media. Are you not skeptical too?

                    “i’m assuming you think the whole of the UN is in on the scam too”

                    Are the UN reporting on this North Korean starvation? They did back in the 90s, and if they claim there is starvation today, your argument would have more weight. Since they’re not, and all you have is the groundless, endlessly repeated sound bites from your favourite news media, it is you who are stubbornly clinging to lies and propaganda.

                    1. Are the UN reporting on this North Korean starvation?


                      North Korea’s historic drought expected to cause famine, U.N. says

                      I think you have confused “skepticism” with “willful ignorance”

                      “so you’re saying you don’t believe ANY defectors from NK.”

                      I wouldn’t say that, not having met or spoken to any. I

                      You don’t believe anything unless you meet people face to face?

                      name people you DO believe are credible.

                      I have not actually made any argument here. I’m just pointing out how you are being a disingenuous idiot who pretends to be concerned with “evidence”, but handwaves aside evidence as flawed when it is presented. Its a bullshit pretense of objectivity used to cover a moronic apologism

                      and i don’t do this to convince you of anything (you can always read UN human-rights commission reports); i do it to expose your stupidity to everyone else.

                    2. “You don’t believe anything unless you meet people face to face?”

                      No, I was trying to tell you that I was skeptical of these reports from defectors you rely on.

                      I was asking for evidence that there is starvation in North Korea today. If you have it, please share. Tell me what you read or saw or heard that convinced you about this starvation business. The links you provide are not germane.

                      “name people you DO believe are credible.”

                      Anyone NOT claiming starvation in North Korea today is more credible than those like you and the propagandists.

                    3. if they claim there is starvation today, your argument would have more weight

                      (Gilmore links to UN claims about govt-enabled famine, and HRC reports on prison-camp starvation)

                      The links you provide are not germane.

                      lol

                      more = “SHOW ME EVIDENCE” (shows evidence) “I WANT DIFFERENT EVIDENCE” (asks what evidence would suffice) “I REFUSE TO SPECIFY”

                    4. “(Gilmore links to UN claims about govt-enabled famine, and HRC reports on prison-camp starvation)”

                      The UN report was written at least 3 years ago. Nothing in it is evidence for your claim that North Koreans are starving today. If you have any such evidence, please share it.

                    5. The UN report was written at least 3 years ago.

                      Yes, i’m sure they’ve gotten lots better since then.

                    6. “Yes, i’m sure they’ve gotten lots better since then.”

                      Are North Koreans starving today or not? What’s your evidence? What was in that 3 year old report that you found so convincing?

                    7. Then ending the food aid will not cause any problems.
                      It will still serve the useful purpose of beginning to extract us from being ‘humanitarians to the world’ regardless of the cost.
                      If you want o send food aid to NK, feel free.
                      I prefer not to, just as I prefer not to fund others to send such aid to NK.

                    8. “Then ending the food aid will not cause any problems.”

                      But it will do nothing to stop North Korea’s missile or nuclear programmes.

                    9. Gilmore, some people have a world view that problems like NK are no big deal, and that they go away all on their own. With all real problems being caused by ever doing anything about anything. Mtrueman apoears to be cut fro that cloth. There is no point debating anyone like him, as it is akin to a religion’ and no amount of logic or evidence will ever dispel this closely held belief.

                    10. “There is no point debating anyone like him”

                      Gilmore was not debating me. He was providing me with the evidence he has for North Korea’s starvation. I didn’t find it convincing because it was at least 3 years old and was not germane to today’s situation, also his links never said there was starvation 3 years ago when they were written, only that a severe drought may spell trouble for the months ahead. But you go on believing what CNN tells you. It is akin to a religion and no amount of logic or evidence will ever dispel this closely held belief.

                    11. his links never said there was starvation 3 years ago when they were written, only that a severe drought may spell trouble for the months ahead.

                      Actually there was plenty there in the human rights report about the use of “Penal Starvation” as well as how the strict restrictions on people’s freedom of movement within their own country creates systemic problems for food development and transport which routinely creates even localized famines during periods when other parts of the country might be flush with foodstuffs.

                      but of course you had no idea about that because you never read any of it and you’re an intellectual dishonest cunt simply pretending that no proof of general claims are possible, therefore you win.

                2. e.g. “other indications”

                  specify what these would be

                  1. Pretty much anything that doesn’t originate with the US government or US media. If you can tell me what it was that convinced you that North Koreans were starving, I’d be interested. Otherwise I assume you are simply parroting the lies you’ve been fed by government and media.

                    1. You are a moron.

                      That’s all.

                    2. And you’re willing stooge for the propaganda you’re fed.

                    3. One might wonder if the US government is so untrustworthy and has a history of lying with every breath why people such as yourself would like to see us give them so much more power over our daily lives. Do you have any insight into your own cognitive dissonance that you would be willing to share with the rest of us?

                    4. “Do you have any insight into your own cognitive dissonance that you would be willing to share with the rest of us?”

                      No. My own cognitive dissonance is none of your business. If you have evidence for starvation in North Korea today, you are welcome to share it.

                    5. And you’re willing stooge for the propaganda you’re fed.

                      Says the Useful Idiot.

                    6. Takes one to know one.

            2. I don’t think there is any evidence that North Korea is “demonstrably starving its people.”

              In 2016, NK border guards raided a Chinese village in order to steal food. If food isn’t getting to border guards, then it most assuredly isn’t getting any lower on the hierarchy.

            3. I don’t think there is any evidence that North Korea is “demonstrably starving its people.”

              In 2016, NK border guards raided a Chinese village in order to steal food. If food isn’t getting to border guards, then it most assuredly isn’t getting any lower on the hierarchy.

              1. That’s your evidence? Nothing more? Something you read in the western press? You really think that’s evidence for starvation in North Korea today? That people aren’t eating there, but at the same time manage to avoid dying in massive numbers, by sneaking off to steal from Chinese villagers? Turn off the CNN and avoid this stoogery.

                1. FU. My source is an English-language Chinese source. If you know Chinese or Korean, feel free to google that too. But I suspect you don’t know either of those languages so you just rail against people who depend on sources that are IDENTICAL to the sources YOU rely on because like 99% of Americans you have never lived outside the US or speak another language or know shit about anything.

                  1. Wrong assumption about my languages, I know more of Korean and Chinese than most. But that’s irrelevant. If there’s really starvation in North Korea as you believe, there would be more evidence than an article in a Chinese newspaper from a year ago. There’d be dead bodies for a start. Death is what happens to starving people.

                    1. These goal posts seem awfully fast, and they just keep getting faster.

                    2. “These goal posts seem awfully fast, and they just keep getting faster.”

                      Let them move. They’re goalposts after all and that’s what they’re supposed to do. CNN will be our guide, and if it tells us there is starvation in North Korea, it must be true. It’s only bad countries like North Korea who lie and propagandize.

                    3. North Korea isn’t that bad, really.

                      There’s tons of evidence for that.

                    4. It’s the evidence for starvation in North Korea that interests me. Starvation in North Korea is taken as a matter of faith among the typical CNN and FOX watchers who comment here. I am more skeptical. (or a commie retard, as you might prefer)

                    5. You are very much an expert on the commenters here.

                      How long have you been following them?

                    6. “How long have you been following them?”

                      Yes, let’s put aside this starvation stuff, it’s high time we started discussing important things. Like me.

                    7. You brought it up. Do you not want to talk about the commenters here anymore?

                    8. “Do you not want to talk about the commenters here anymore?”

                      The commenters? Who said anything about those morans? I think I just heard the sound of moving goalposts, damn them!

                    9. mtrueman’s ‘I know you are but what am I’ sophist routine is absolutely atrocious.

                    10. Mtrueman, goalposts are traditionally affixed and do not move. Hence the analogy. The bottom line is that you’re a little baby girl who refuses to see reason and is engaging in mental gymnastics to maintain this phony construct you’ve created for yourself.

                    11. I didn’t think you’d have the evidence. I also thought that you’d insist you did.

                    12. Death is what happens to starving people.

                      Not just death. Stunting and other issues also happen. Here’s the UNICEF report on DPRK for 2015:
                      http://uni.cf/2oVVlQ6

                      If you know how to read these sorts of reports from countries that a)aren’t at war with tons of refugees and b)where govts abdicate responsibility to UNICEF to ‘solve’ the problem and where c)UNICEF ain’t gonna risk its relations with the host govt, the data ain’t good.

                      30% of kids under 5 have severe acute malnutrition. 55% of pregnant/lactating women. 70% of kids under age 2. Most likely rural areas (too much risk if DPRK allows UNICEF to operate in cities – so DPRK prob ‘solves’ the problems there). And most likely these aren’t the families of the Workers-Peasants Red Guard (the DPRK militia – which is 25% of the population). These are Somalia and other war-torn levels of malnutrition.

                    13. “Stunting and other issues also happen. ”

                      These issues are related to malnutrition. I don’t need your help in finding evidence for malnutrition in North Korea. I said starvation, and that’s what I was asking about. You’ve probably read about this somewhere, but in the 90s there was serious crop failure and some half million starved to death. As far as I can make out, the food situation in North Korea today is nowhere near as bad as it was back then and North Korean starvation only exists as a thing in US propaganda and in the minds of the CNN parrots. If you have evidence to the contrary, you’re welcome to share it.

                    14. Mtrueman:
                      “These issues are related to malnutrition. I don’t need your help in finding evidence for malnutrition in North Korea.”

                      Starvation is a form malnutrition.

                      You just conceded the point.

                    15. Starvation is a form [of] malnutrition.

                      Probably because the capitalist pig USAID agencies force WHITE rice on them, instead of the yellowish and Juche-infused rice which the Korean peoples raise to create the healthiest babies the planet has ever dared confront. Mtrueman knows the spirit of the korean peoples cannot be broken by this imperialist plot to undermine their nutritional magnificence.

                    16. “You just conceded the point.”

                      Malnutrition and starvation are different. The different names is the giveaway. Starvation is more severe and will kill. Malnutrition is no walk in the park and may lead to stunted development, but not death, directly, at least.

                    17. You are claiming that starvation is not malnutrition, and this is incorrect.

                      Are you unfamiliar with the meaning of the terms?

                    18. Severe acute malnutrition is the MEDICAL term for starving. It indicates the point where there is a high risk that the person can no longer process food on their own. Specifically it is the point where fluid (oedema) accumulates under the skin as organ failure begins. The proverbial image of starving Ethiopian kids with bloated bellies and often swollen feet and face. The exact image that a propagandist clown like you would see as ‘well-fed – what’s the problem?’. Without UNICEF there, the mortality rate would be 100% for that condition (often diarrhea is the immediate cause of death – but any infection will kill at that point). With UNICEF, the mortality rate for that diagnosis is probably well under 30%.

                      And stunting is what occurs to kids with CHRONIC malnutrition – which is far more damning of a particular society since it indicates continuing INTENTION of policy.

                2. You asked for evidence. You were given evidence. Now you’re moving the bar. How predictably disengenuous of you.

                  Since at least the 90’s, NK’s starvation of its people has become the status quo. No additional proof required. So then, what evdeince have you that there is no starvation?

                  1. Absolutely. It’s been widely reported and known this is the case.

                  2. “You asked for evidence.”

                    I asked for evidence of starvation in North Korea today. I’m still waiting.

                    “No additional proof required.”

                    In correct moran. I require evidence. For me it’s not a matter of faith.

                    “So then, what evdeince have you that there is no starvation?”

                    You speak English, sort of, why don’t you tell me?

                    1. The evidence or lack thereof of starving/eating in North Korea isn’t very interesting, because the North Norean government’s efforts at censorship and propaganda. Essentially, facts are forbidden, more or less. You’re not allowed to generate unapproved evidence.

                      When people have something to hide, it’s usually bad. And, others usually assume the worst.

                      If people are incorrect about the ground truth in North Korea, then its primary the North Korean government’s fault more than anyone else.

                    2. “If people are incorrect about the ground truth in North Korea, then its primary the North Korean government’s fault more than anyone else.”

                      I’m not sure they care that much about what Americans believe, aside from a belief that their nuclear bombs are real and ready for use. I worry that Americans are getting suckered into yet another war. This time with the starving Koreans who are just a bunch of clownishly evil pushovers.

                    3. Go on: tell us more.

                    4. Yea, I haven’t seen any studies released in the last 7 hours showing the starvation of people in a communist country that doesn’t allow freedom of the press or objective, outside organizations to run studies in their country. Weird.

                    5. You avoided my key point. Starvation IS the status quo in NK. Has been for decades. Therefore the burden of proof falls upon your contention that there is no starvation. Not the other way around.

                    6. So as to avoid confusion, I am also Elias. Can’t seem to log on to that account on this device though.

            4. Hey mfalseman, do you want to borrow my Stabbing Westward cassette tape? It’s the breakout Whither, Blister, Burn & Peel album.

            5. I think both sides are correct. After seeing some business man from Singapore that has a YouTube channel, their is a middle class in the NK capital. Look-up Aram Pan, or click the link. https://www.youtube.com/user/arampan

    2. “Throw some food aid at them”

      That won’t work given the food surplus and thriving black market in North Korea. They have talked about giving up nukes in exchange for the US giving up its military maneuvers in North Korea’s neighbourhood. The US has not responded positively yet.

      1. Food surplus. In a nation where people are starving to death. These two statements are in conflict.

        1. “In a nation where people are starving to death.”

          You’re simply parroting US propaganda. Where is the evidence that North Koreans are starving to death?

          1. Is that a serious question? I guess we should discount the physical differences between Norks and Sorks as propaganda, too?

            1. If you have any solid information about starvation in North Korea today, please share it. I suspect all you have is only propaganda from the US news media, and are only capable of parroting what you’ve been fed.

              1. The solid information abounds. It begins with stories from those who have escaped. It continues with the well-documented differences in size between North and South Koreans. It further continues with those who’ve managed to sneak in and out of the country and report findings. Jeezus, dude; are you ignoring reality or unaware of it, because neither is particularly flattering.

                1. “It begins with stories from those who have escaped. ”

                  If it begins and ends with defectors tales vetted by South Korean intelligence and reported by western media, then your ‘demonstrable evidence’ is tissue thin. But if you want to believe it, the media won’t tire in telling it over and over again.

                  1. If it begins and ends with defectors tales vetted by South Korean intelligence and reported by western media,

                    since that is NOT the case, what is your point beyond wanting to believe the unbelievable?

                    1. Where is the evidence that there is starvation in North Korea today? If you have it, please share it. You and FOX and CNN can insist all you want, but that is not evidence.

                    2. “You have no evidence!”

                      “Uh…defectors.”

                      “South Korean propaganda!”

                      Sorry, moron. The burden of proof is on you to show the defectors aren’t reliable sources for evidence. Good luck with that.

                    3. “The burden of proof is on you to show the defectors aren’t reliable sources for evidence.”

                      Everything from these defectors is vetted through South Korean intelligence. You should know better than to think of them as reliable. Portraying the North in a negative light is part of their job.

                    4. The burden of proof is on you to prove the defectors aren’t a reliable source of evidence. Your claim, your burden of proof. And claiming “South Korean propaganda!” isn’t going to sufficiently prove your claim, sorry to say.

                    5. “The burden of proof is on you to prove the defectors aren’t a reliable source of evidence.”

                      They are not the source though, are they? The stories are cooked up by south korean intelligence then released through the press. Normally you’re so skeptical about what the government and press want you to believe. Now you can only defend them when confronted by skepticism. The claim that North Korea is starving is yours. If you really have ‘demonstrable evidence’ of starvation in Korea, you’d have shown me by now. I think you might be a retard.

                    6. Mithrandir,

                      You can’t trust the media about North Korea.

                      For the real truth, turn to a communism apologist.

                    7. “For the real truth, turn to a communism apologist.”

                      Or, easier still, look at the evidence, or in this case, lack of it. Or, more easier still just forget about truth and follow the stooges here parroting what they see on CNN. Sorry, FOX.

                    8. There’s the photography of Eric Lafforgue, who was banned from North Korea for taking these pictures:
                      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..state.html

                      Anyway, what are the official North Korean numbers for poverty and death by starvation?

                    9. Your article dates back to 2014, the same time as the article GILMORE linked to some 4 hours ago. (The first in his comment with links.) His was a CNN article warning of a possible North Korean drought which didn’t seem to materialize. Neither of the articles speak of current starvation in North Korea. Yet you claim that there is starvation in North Korea today. What is your evidence for this, and please share it. Call me a retard too if it makes you feel good.

                    10. I never said North Koreans are starving today.

                      I just showed evidence of malnourished people, and people scavenging for food. It’s from 2014 but, as you can see, North Korea doesn’t allow for people to collect evidence.

                      I don’t have evidence showing me that much has changed.

                      You never answered my question: what are North Korea’s own, official numbers on poverty and starvation?

                    11. “You never answered my question: what are North Korea’s own, official numbers on poverty and starvation?”

                      I don’t know. Perhaps a public library may be of help.

                      “I never said North Koreans are starving today.”

                      Where do you think that idea comes from, given the total lack of evidence?

                      “and people scavenging for food”

                      One thing you have to remember. These are not normal people. They’re Asians. You can see it in their eyes, or for a small fee, their vaginas, a topic I’ve had occasion to lecture you on before. They (Asians) collect plants like mugwort from the roadsides. They take these plants home and eat them! You can see ‘starving’ South Koreans foraging for such delicacies if you wander far and wide.

                    12. I’m sorry: I thought you were an expert, given that you spent time in Asia.

                      I think it comes from the recent evidence that people have been starving, combined with North Korea’s own attempts at propaganda and censorship. When someone’s hiding something, people assume the worst.

                      Maybe they’re wrong, and no one is starving in North Korea. I doubt it, though. There are poor people everywhere, as Eric Lafforgue observed (and they still wouldn’t let him take pictures).

                    13. “Maybe they’re wrong, and no one is starving in North Korea. ”

                      Until I see evidence to the contrary, I’m assuming they are wrong, or willing dupes to US propaganda.

                    14. You’re free to assume whatever you want.

                    15. “You’re free to assume whatever you want.”

                      I thought I’d take the further liberty and share my doubts with you.

                    16. Go on: tell me more.

                    17. “Go on: tell me more.”

                      Oops, too late. The goalposts just moved.

                    18. The greatest trick Communist apologists ever pulled was that Communism is not that bad.

                      The greatest trick that North Korea ever pulled was that starvation in NK is not currently happening.

                    19. Most defectors go through china not South Korea so there is no vetting by South Korea of defectors through China. why do they go through China because there is not a wall to stop them.

                1. You can’t believe North Korea about North Korea. That’s just US propaganda.


                2. North Korea instructed the country Monday to brace itself for possible famine and severe economic hardship ? but not to despair, because “the road to revolution is long and arduous,” according to an editorial in the state-run newspaper.

                  “The road to revolution is long and arduous”, an editorial in the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper stated on Monday. “We may have to go on an arduous march, during which we will have to chew the roots of plants once again”.

                  The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, reported that every citizen of Pyongyang is being ordered to provide 1kg (2.2lb) of rice to the state’s warehouses every month, while farmers are being forced to “donate” additional supplies from their own meagre crops to the military.

                  There are also reports of North Koreans hoarding food supplies due to fears of another famine, while the regime has started to crack down on the open-air markets that serve as an important source of additional food for city-dwellers and have been tolerated in recent years.

                  THIS REPORT IS A MONTH OLD. THAT IS PROOF OF NOTHING. NORTH KOREA REINVENTS ITSELF CONSTANTLY. YOU ARE A COG OF THE CAPITALIST PROPAGANDA MACHINE.

                  1. I heard that North Norea doesn’t track poverty and starvation statistics, because facts and numbers are a capitalist plot.

                  2. It’s a whole month old. This says nothing about starvation today, you capitalist swine.

          2. There’s a really good vice episode on them titled “hermit kingdom”. It’s the one where they used dennis rodman and bball to gain access. They blatently fabricate the appearance of food in stores that were previously empty to make it seem like things are a-ok to rodman. I’d recommend watching it and then come back to the table.

            Your being willfully ignorant, a google search turns up a lot.

            1. It sounds like you are skeptical about the antics of North Korea and their quislings among America’s resentful African American community. That’s highly commendable.

              Your error is to mistake a blatant fabrication of an appearance of abundant food for starvation.

              1. Your error is ignoring the goal of this manipulation.

                And your first paragraph is wrong and pointless.

                1. The goal is to shape your opinion. It’s good that your inclination is to resist this.

          3. Where is the evidence that North Koreans are starving to death?

            Never feed the gaslighters.

      2. The problem is that they would likely consider any ships within 3,000 miles as their neighborhood. Until Japan is no longer under our protection, that is impossible.

    3. It’ll be far cheaper than any nuclear war, even if you win it

  4. The Korean war was a product of the cold war. Th e USSR was a threat to the west . I would say South Korea turned out ok. They can now defend themselves though.BTW, were were thousands of troops from other countries fighting the North and China.The aftermath of WW 2was a dangerous time,in Asia and Europe.

  5. “All of this was most promising. North Korean froze its plutonium program beyond Clinton’s tenure, until 2002, and the administration, writes historian Bruce Cumings, “in October 2000, had indirectly worked out a deal to buy all of its medium- and long-range missiles. Clinton also signed an agreement with Gen. Jo Myong-rok stating that henceforth, neither country would bear ‘hostile intent’ toward the other.”

    This narrative ignores a crucial factor. Prior to December of 2001, China’s foreign policy was dominated by the desire to join the WTO and, thus, enjoy free trade with the United States and the world. Thus, China put tremendous pressure on North Korea not to make waves. If North Korea agreed to freeze its plutonium program prior to China winning the support of the world to join the WTO–only to restart its nuclear weapons program once China won the support of world leaders to join the WTO, then the obvious explanation for why North Korea halted its nuclear weapons program isn’t the posturing of the Clinton administration. The reason North Korea briefly suspended its nuclear weapons program was because China wanted to join the WTO.

  6. In terms of negotiating with North Korea or being accommodating towards them, there are a number of reasons why that’s unlikely to be productive. Start with brushing off The Kirkpatrick Doctrine and understanding the difference between authoritarians like Pinochet and totalitarians like the regime in North Korea. Kirkpatrick was all but prophetic in predicting that an authoritarian regime like Pinochet’s could tolerate people thinking what they want and, hence, was sensitive to democratic pressures and international criticism. For goodness’ sake, Pinochet held a referendum on his own regime and respected the results. North Korea is subject to no such pressure. It’s not enough to do as your told in a totalitarian regime–you must love the totalitarians in your heart.

    Pinochet feared losing what support he enjoyed from his own people. The Kims can starve their own people to death by the hundreds of thousands and never hear a word of protest.

    1. Throwing dissidents out of airplanes was just a sign of Pinochet’s radical libertarianism. Most people spend their lives trapped in a cycle of dependency where there always a “floor” or “ground” supporting them. Thanks to Pinochet, they were finally free to be truly independent, to live or die entirely according to their own ability to fly

      It’s what Jesus would have done, really.

      1. I didn’t say Pinochet was a libertarian. Was anyone else confused about this?

        I said Pinochet was an authoritarian but that he was sensitive to both the support of his own people and international criticism. He didn’t hold a referendum, respect the results, and step down out of the goodness of his heart. He did it because he was sensitive to both the support of his own people and international criticism.

        “The 1988 Chilean national plebiscite was a national referendum held on 5 October 1988 to determine whether Chile’s President, Augusto Pinochet, should extend his rule for another eight years. The “No” side won with nearly 56% of the vote, thus ending the General’s 16? years in power.

        The fact the dictatorship respected the results is attributed to pressure from the big business, the international community and unease with extended Pinochet-rule within the dictatorship.[1]

        http://tinyurl.com/knzqxua

        There are differences between totalitarians and authoritarians, and those differences translate into the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of various foreign policy strategies. I’d love to say I’m the person who thought of that, but credit belongs to Jeane Kirkpatrick–learned it all from her.

  7. Winning contentious negotiations is all about leverage. We have no direct leverage with North Korea when the regime needn’t even fear the opinion of its own people. In the past we’ve won concessions from North Korea by using our leverage with China, for instance, when they wanted our support for them to join the WTO. If we’re likely to win concessions from North Korea again, it’s likely to come by way of leverage with China again . . . and we can orchestrate a state visit to Taipei to discuss formal recognition for Taiwan anytime we want.

    We should use our leverage.

  8. Sheldon surprisingly leaves out two more reasons for Dear Reader to want his nuke and missile programs: the examples set by Libya (which gave up nukes and was tossed on the rubbish heap) and Iran (which kept its nuke and missile programs and is pretty much untouched). Regardless of anything else, those examples alone of US policy are all the lessons Dear Reader and his regime need. If anything, it would be political suicide for them to give up the only leverage they have.

    As for a solution, I have none, other than stop pissing with them, just walk away and leave it to their neighbors. The Cuba embargo is perhaps the only thing which has kept the Castro brothers in power all this time. The NK embargo is just another excuse Dear Reader can use to his propaganda advantage.

    I bet the one thing Dear Reader fears more than anything is an infusion of foreign goods and ideas. Drop the embargo and they will be on their knees within five years.

    1. In the Iranian example, the U.S.completely capitulated to Iran’s nuclear program and let them continue to enrich their own uranium in the future. We had the implicit support of both China and Russia on the Security Council to impose crippling sanctions on Iran that eventually drove them to the negotiating table–they’d burned through all their foreign exchange reserves and were desperate for access to international credit markets. They were facing a Venezuela style economic implosion unless we ended sanctions right then and there.

      And what did we do?

      We let them start enriching their uranium again in exchange for magic beans so Obama could pose as a peacemaker.

      Yeah, what the hell kind of signal did that send to North Korea?

    2. I’ve been saying this for a while now.

    3. “As for a solution, I have none, other than stop pissing with them, just walk away and leave it to their neighbors. ”

      That solution of yours is total capitulation. Yankee go home is exactly what North Korea wants.

      1. How dare they want to be left alone.

    4. “the examples set by Libya (which gave up nukes and was tossed on the rubbish heap) ”

      See also: Ukraine

  9. RE: “es, Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather before him, is a tyrant. But when has that ever stopped an American president from dealing with?and often befriending?a ruler?”

    In view of the fact that Trump is inviting Duterte to the White House, the answer to that question is pretty obvious.

  10. negotiation of a clear nonaggression pact and a U.S. renunciation of preemptive war and the use of nuclear weapons has a good chance of succeeding.

    if i’d never read any history…. or actually had any experience of people routinely breaking contracts when the consequences of doing so were predictable and simply added to the ‘cost of doing business’….. that would sound…..

    …well, it would still sound really retarded.

    that said, i think Sunday Sheldon is still better than all-weekend-long-shikha.

    1. The U.S. forced the north to storm across the 38th parallel. Honest. This revisionist history is really old. Shelly could spare everyone the time by just publishing “the US did it.”

      1. This revisionist history is really old.

        Yes, but crazy-old-man is still better than screechy-menopausal-woman on the weekend. the former is amusing in ways the latter is not.

        1. I’d rather just have the clouds than the old man screaming at them.

      2. Oh for Pete’s sake. Sheldon nowhere denies that NK is run by crazies. You can go back far enough in any country’s history to find crazy.

        What he says is that long after the war which hasn’t ended, NK had begun to behave somewhat more rationally, and was playing adultish, when Bush pulled the rug from under the agreement and told NK tough shit.

        At least try to play adultish yourself by responding to what was actually written.

        1. You can go back far enough in any country’s history to find crazy.

          In some countries, you don’t need to go back at all.

  11. Cutting off American oil to Japan was the moral thing to do. We were already accessories to atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking.

    1. It raises obvious points about inherent problems with self-styled “libertarian” foreign-policy pretensions.

      (i do not think there is such a thing)

      e.g.
      – the flawed idea that ‘trade’ is always neutral, and that one can ‘trade with all while being hostile to none’

      anytime you’re supplying one side of a conflict (or even both), the other side sees you as a counter-party to aggression and will (in their mind, rightfully) see attacking your trade as a perfectly legitimate response. there’s no need for any formal ‘alliances’ if one party sees the same trade-relations disproportionately favoring the outcomes of their adversaries.

      further, cessation of trade would be seen as inherently hostile if a country like the US unilaterally cut off trade-relations with parties to a conflict. regardless if the behavior were the same to both (ostensibly ‘neutral’). In fact it might be seen as an extension of whichever hostile party initiated conflict; essentially “blaming the victim” by stripping them of resources they needed to defend themselves.

      never mind the idiocy of pretending that foreign relations should be guided by any artificial notions about “morality”. The most “moral” behavior for a nation within a world of nations is to firstly preserve itself and defend its interests. Anything more is just sentimental posturing.

      1. Paying the norks in food and oil is in no way extortion so that they don’t run a reactor which is only useful for making weapons grade plutonium. In fact libertarian philosophy demands it.

        1. i hope it was understood my point about the inherent problems w/ doctrinaire libertarian FP arguments was not in any way an endorsement of the stupid things the US has done vis a vis NK over the past few decades.

      2. anytime you’re supplying one side of a conflict (or even both), the other side sees you as a counter-party to aggression and will (in their mind, rightfully) see attacking your trade as a perfectly legitimate response.

        Certainly. It makes PERFECT sense that country B should not only be at war with country A but should attack and go to war with The United Fucking States of America for trading with country A. There’s a first-rate national strategy…

        never mind the idiocy of pretending that foreign relations should be guided by any artificial notions about “morality”. The most “moral” behavior for a nation within a world of nations is to firstly preserve itself and defend its interests. Anything more is just sentimental posturing.

        A pathetic attempt to rationalize immoral behavior. Everyone in the world is held to some sort of moral code, but we’ll just carve out an exception for nation-states so people can feel good about their country killing people to get their way.

        Dear fucking god, Gilmore!

        1. pathetic attempt to rationalize immoral behavior.

          “pathetic” means appeal to emotion.

          I actually made the opposite case; that self-interest supercedes sentimental notions of moral obligations to 3rd parties in the context of foreign relations.

          You don’t seem to have understood what i wrote, frank.

          1. Oh, I understood you perfectly…and thanks for confirming.

        2. It makes PERFECT sense that country B should not only be at war with country A but should attack and go to war with The United Fucking States of America for trading with country A. There’s a first-rate national strategy…

          1) its happened to the USA on at least a few occasions. see 1812, WWII

          2) you seem to think that a libertarian “theory” is supported by the specific example of the USA. (which is already a hegemonic power)

          i’ve pointed out before that your latter argument is inherently flawed because it exposes the reliance of the “theory” on conditions which can’t possibly apply to any other nation EXCEPT a hegemonic military power.

          i.e. = If “trade with all, alliance with none” can only possibly be maintained by a mono-polar global superpower who maintains overwhelming military superiority to any possible foes…. its a “theory” which has absolutely no applicability to anyone else, and no longer works as a theory, but simply as a recommended policy of anyone who happens to be a hegemon. and how did they become a hegemon in the first place? The theory would seem to require a very non-libertarian series of steps to acquire the conditions necessary for libertarian behavior.

          1. “trade with all, alliance with none” can only possibly be maintained by a mono-polar global superpower who maintains overwhelming military superiority to any possible foes

            This is gibberish.

            Replace “The United Fucking States of America”, above, with any fairly well-armed country “C”. Country B can fight country A or country A+C. And if countries D, E, F, G and H are also trading with A, what the fuck is B gonna do, go to war with all of them?

            If C is also trading with B (and B attacks C for trading with A), not only does B get double-teamed, but B loses the benefit of trade with C on top of it.

            You’ve heard the adage that “democracies don’t fight each other?” Well, that’s bullshit. It’s not democracies, it’s countries that are mutually dependent on one another that don’t fight each other.

            1. go to war with all of them?

              Why would they? is there some mutual alliance you never mentioned?

              This idea that ‘trading with nations pre-supposes some military responsibility for one another’ is exactly the idea i was pointing out complicates the standard libertarian presumption about “Neutral Trade”

              Germany attacked the US when it was ‘neutrally’ supplying Britain in WWII. the idea that there’s somehow an inherent deterrent effect when nations merely-trade with one another is the baseless claim. And simply because a nation engaged in hostilities attacks the trade of 3rd parties against its current adversary isn’t any guarantee of ‘war with all’. Your scenario presupposes WWI type obligations.

              what you’re really describing here is closer to a balance-of-power argument, not any inherent deterrent-effect of “trade with all, alliance with none”;

              countries that are mutually dependent on one another

              your argument also assumes a false equivalency of dependence; as though all relationships are the same. Merely “trading with all” isn’t mutual dependence.

              if/when China goes to war with Taiwan, what happens? when china embargoes all US trade against its adversary, are we obliged to fight against China to defend that trade? do we cease trade with both? Do we arm Taiwan with Nukes?

              The libertarian “Trade w/ All – alliance w/ none” idea presumes an idealized neutrality which simply doesn’t exist.

              1. Germany attacked the US when it was ‘neutrally’ supplying Britain in WWII.

                How’d that work out for them?

                A noninterventionist foreign policy doesn’t preclude war. What it will do is limit the number of them and ensure you hold the moral high ground when war is required.

                Your scenario presupposes WWI type obligations.

                No it doesn’t. It presupposes that nations will act in self-defense against an aggressor. You attack me, I’m going to attack you right back.

                1. A noninterventionist foreign policy doesn’t preclude war.

                  The argument frequently presented is that it is *less likely* to cause war than every other form of intl relations.

                  the point i made above is that it actually has plenty of easily foreseeable scenarios that actually would engender conflict.

                  basically, every time i see people gaming-out what would happen in any “Trade w/ all, alliance w/ none” scenario is an inevitable resort to realist self-interest.

                  It presupposes that nations will act in self-defense against an aggressor.

                  you’re presuming that trading partners care more about their respective relationship than the one w/ the aggressor. Hence my china example.

                  And yes, its presuming that merely because 2 nations trade that they have mutual interests which outweigh their respective differences w/ the ‘aggressor’. My point was that you’re injecting all sorts of balance-of-power assumptions into how nations react to any given conflict.

                  hence my china vs. taiwan vs. us example. Any 3-way comparison where 2 powerful nations differ over trade-relations w/ a smaller nation would suffice.

                  the point is that if the US were truly “neutral” (we’re not), what would determine US reactions to Chinese/Taiwanese conflict?

                  Would we go to war on principle to defend our trade w/ Taiwan, even tho it represented a tiny fraction of our trade w/ china? Nonsense; and neither would it be ‘moral’

                  1. Why would I give a flying fuck if China invades Taiwan?

                    If I’m trading with both Taiwan and China and China takes Taiwan, I’m still trading with Taiwan if I’m still trading with China.

                    If China attempts to physically stop me from trading with Taiwan, that is an act of aggression. War is justified. China will, of course, not do that because doing so would sever their mutually beneficial trade with us AND they get to fight us too.

                    China, knowing we will continue to trade with Taiwan, is less likely to invade Taiwan if it will mean a high probability of having to initiate aggression against the US in the form of blocking our ships.

                    No alliances required. No enemies prior to initiation of hostilities. No nation supporting the defense of another nation (military welfare [NATO]). Just a simple “if you don’t attack me, I won’t attack you”.

                    1. Just a simple “if you don’t attack me, I won’t attack you”

                      Right.

                      And you naively seem to think that selling Taiwan anti-missile systems which would potentially thwart China’s ambitions should not be seen as a threat, simply because *we say so*.

                      As though that’s objectively “neutral”.

                      Just as how we’ve repeatedly gone over the question of whether blocking Cuba’s access to nukes was “aggression” (you said it was); and that your version of non-interventionist neutrality would obligate the US to allow tiny-island-nation Cuba, who is openly hostile, to be armed with whatever Russia saw fit to gift them.

                      I presume you’d also argue that the US should never have cut off Japan’s oil after they attacked China either.

                      You seem to think that this “aggression” stuff is so perfectly simple and objective and easily distinguished from mere-trade.. and China should never dare think WE are the aggressor when we’re arming their historical adversaries with systems directly intended to undermine their military advantage.

                      ‘Neutrality’ is entirely subjective to the interests of the parties involved. What you pretend is “neutral” is not at all to someone else, depending on their relative balance of power. Especially when your otherwise neutral-relations are seen as disproportionately benefiting adversaries.

                    2. And you naively seem to think that selling Taiwan anti-missile systems which would potentially thwart China’s ambitions should not be seen as a threat, simply because *we say so*.

                      Oh, it’s most certainly a threat. Just like Iran getting a nuke is a threat. Or Russia moving S-3/400s into Syria is a threat. Or the US building the F-35 is a threat. Or like putting Jupiter missiles in Turkey was a threat.

                      Threats aren’t aggression.

                      I presume you’d also argue that the US should never have cut off Japan’s oil after they attacked China either.

                      What did doing so get us? (not that doing so is justification for attacking us)

                      In noninterventionism, there is a big bright line that you do not cross. It’s simple. It’s unambiguous. As opposed to current FP, which is a muddled pile of shit, which allows our government to do pretty much whatever it wants, to whomever it wants, whenever it wants.

                    3. ust like Iran getting a nuke is a threat. Or Russia moving S-3/400s into Syria is a threat. Or the US building the F-35 is a threat. Or like putting Jupiter missiles in Turkey was a threat.

                      Threats aren’t aggression.

                      Just as you thought Cuba having nukes wasn’t aggression.

                      What good is the rule, if the rule brought you to that?

                      I would argue that your narrow-conception of ‘aggression’ makes a mockery of the concept of neutrality as posited by the “Trade w/ all, Alliance w/ none”-formula

                      When certain kinds of trade has such vast ramifications for the security of nations, you can’t simply pretend that “trade with all” can be consistent with any idealized neutrality

                      In noninterventionism, there is a big bright line that you do not cross.

                      So you’d like to believe. My point is that there are many lines prior to that bright one which make your simplistic notions fall apart in practice.

                      Does the hypothetical non-interventionist US keep selling the expansionist Imperial Japan oil? Or does it cut oil off unilaterally and thereby threaten Japan’s viability?

                      the former seems to be more consistent with the “trade w. all/alliance w. none” formula. yet
                      it was suggested that the latter was the “moral” choice (tho it led to war). Where’s the bright line?

                    4. Fucking squirrels ate my comment!

                      Just as you thought Cuba having nukes wasn’t aggression.

                      It wasn’t. It was simply a threat. Same threat as our missiles in Turkey. The US initiated the aggression in the Cuban Missile Crisis (with the blockade). We were CLEARLY in the wrong and our arrogance brought the world to the brink of a real nuclear war.

                      I would argue that your narrow-conception of ‘aggression’ makes a mockery of the concept of neutrality as posited by the “Trade w/ all, Alliance w/ none”-formula

                      And I argue that your ridiculously broad conception of aggression allows the US government to fuck with anyone, anytime, for any reason.

                      there are many lines prior to that bright one which make your simplistic notions fall apart in practice.

                      No…there really aren’t. Was harm done… Not could harm be done.

                      You don’t get to punch a bully for calling you names. He has to assault (or attempt to assault) you (or another) before you get to do that.

                      Where’s the bright line?

                      Japan initiated aggression. The NAP allows you to intervene on behalf of another. You are simply under no obligation to do so. In such instances, you weigh the cost/benefit of such an intervention.

                      That’s the debate…AFTER the aggression is committed, is this worth our blood and treasure, and the lives of the countless bystanders, to rectify? The answer to that is almost alway…NO.

                    5. Just as you thought Cuba having nukes wasn’t aggression.

                      It wasn’t. It was simply a threat

                      I think you keep missing the point that your bright-lines between “threats” and “actual aggression” are at best semantic exercises that reveal the utter lack of the utility of that distinction.

                      You can insist that people who point guns at our heads have done us no harm, and you would be technically correct. However, this is not a sound or sane basis for national security policy.

                      The US initiated the aggression in the Cuban Missile Crisis (with the blockade). We were CLEARLY in the wrong

                      Again – you seem to think this should be widely recognized as obviously true. I would argue that this is wonderful evidence of how obviously retarded your POV is. I long ago ceased trying to make you see this, but i do enjoy you repeating it for the sake of anyone else reading.

                      your ridiculously broad conception of aggression allows the US government to fuck with anyone, anytime, for any reason.

                      I never offered any definition of aggression because i never offered any argument that hinged on that definition.

                      You (and others) seem to repeatedly pretend that pointing out flaws in YOUR argument invoves advancing some staw-man opposite-argument.

                      (i.e. as though i’m advocating some fake “interventionism”. I’m not)

                    6. there are many lines prior to that bright one which make your simplistic notions fall apart in practice.

                      No…there really aren’t

                      and amazingly, you followed that claim with


                      e.g. “”The NAP allows you to intervene on behalf of another””

                      You actually just argued that the US had every right to jumpstart WWII and intervene against the Japanese in China even before they attacked the US.’

                      Why? because the Chinese were so strategically important to us then? Because we felt kindly disposed?

                      Your strict NAP allows you to jump into anyone elses fight without any consideration as to whether doing so actually benefits the citizens of the country who are going to be doing the fighting in anyway? You’re basically opening up the NAP to include everything from Wilsonian “defending democracies” to Humanitarian Interventions.

                      I’m having a hard time taking your criticism that “Realism” is somehow ‘anything goes’ (it isn’t) when you’re basically expanding the NAP to mean, “i can go to war with anyone already at war, because its my moral right, and because “someone else started it””(initiation)

                      I bet you’d write a compelling analysis of the Trojan wars based on the NAP. “Paris Initiated Aggression Q.E.D.”

                    7. you keep missing the point that your bright-lines between “threats” and “actual aggression” are at best semantic exercises

                      That’s laughable. That’s like saying the Cubans have every right to wage war on us because we own nukes. Unless we use them preemptively, there’s no aggression.

                      you seem to think this should be widely recognized as obviously true.

                      Because it IS obviously true. No on had done ANYTHING that resembled aggression in the CMC prior to the US stopping the first ship. The use of armed force to impede someone else’s ability to trade as they see fit.

                      Me owning a gun is NOT cause for assuming I’m going to shoot you.

                      You actually just argued that the US had every right to jumpstart WWII

                      BECAUSE Japan initiated aggression by invading China. I ALSO said:

                      In such instances, you weigh the cost/benefit of such an intervention.

                      Just because you have the right doesn’t mean it’s in your best interests to do so.

                      and because “someone else started it””(initiation)

                      So, when you got into fights in school, did the teacher who broke it up ask you who started the name-calling or did they ask you who threw the first punch?

                      You have the right to self-defense. You don’t have the right to feel comfortable. These are common norms among individuals. You seem to think, for some unfathomable reason, that they shouldn’t apply to nation-states.

                    8. That’s like saying the Cubans have every right to wage war on us because we own nukes

                      You’re confusing mere possession of weapons being the point, versus the way their using those weapons to threaten the US would have changed the relative risk-position of the US.

                      If you don’t understand the point re: cuba, its really not for lack of effort here. You seem to think that some “same rules apply to everyone” dynamic should apply to a super-power vs. some podunk commie island that would have nuked DC at the first opportunity. we had a hostile relation w/ Cuba and regardless of some bullshit moral calculus of ‘who started it’, the point would be that a nuclear-armed cuba would have started WWIII

                      and you seem to think that’s some trivial matter which you can handwave away by applying some ridiculous schoolyard-moralism, as though Cuba had a right to nukes on ‘principle’, regardless of how they were obviously intended to be used.

                      In such instances, you weigh the cost/benefit of such an intervention.

                      so what? This doesn’t change my criticism at all. Your NAP basically dissolves into pure utilitarian opportunism so long as your retarded conditional is met.

                      Realism is far more restrained in conception than your “principled” NAP.

                    9. a way of looking at this issue which maybe you haven’t previously considered

                      – the theories i’m talking about are a way of understanding the way things ARE. a model that describes the way nations actually interact

                      – the theory you seem to be talking about is your desire of “how things SHOULD BE”; hence the constant assertion of schoolyard moral principles

                      The fact is that regardless of how attractive you find the NAP as a basis for personal conduct, it simply does not reflect the way nations will act when faced with competing interests. and interests are ALWAYS competing. Every nation will always pursue its own advantage to the utter maximum. Nations do not seek “balance and fairness” with one another, relying wholly on the moral-rectitude of one another to guarantee their safety and prosperity. They either try and destroy one another, or they try and find mutual interests (yet still gain advantage)

                      The NAP works as guideline between citizens within a state because the state provides an enforcement mechanism to punish violators. There is no such moderating mechanism between nations. he who strikes hardest gets to write the history books and make themselves the good guy. The “moral high ground” is where they bury the losers.

                      hence the point that the NAP is a moral luxury of the already-hegemonic-power. You like it because you *can*. Small, weak nations have no such luxury.

                2. *also =

                  neither here nor there, but i do recall this pivot from

                  1 – “defending the formula “Trade w/ All – Alliance w/ none”

                  to

                  2 – “only defending a vague, non-formulaic ‘non-inteventionism'”
                  (which in practice amounts to a ‘defensive realism’ rather than any NAP-based argument)

                  …happening many times before.

                  Nothing about ‘realism’ is necessarily ‘interventionist’.

                  Realism is simply the recognition that *all nations* – not just the most powerful ones – prioritize self-preservation + pursuit of self-interests ahead of anything else.

                  And especially ahead of any moralistic/ faux-theoretical formula a la the NAP, or any other ‘nice on paper, shitty in practice’ ideas which pretend to applicability across all scenarios.

              2. The libertarian XXXXXXXX idea presumes an idealized YYYYY which simply doesn’t exist.

                Generalized that for you.

                Foreign policy entails concepts of nations and borders, which many here fundamentally dismiss.

                Each one of us decides to do what we think is right, and we nuke NK, or not, depending on our own whimsy and means. The end.

                See how simple denying reality can make your theoretical analysis?

      3. This 100%. Libertarian non-intervention always seems to assume there is a good option. It just ain’t true. Not just in supplying one or both sides of a conflict. But playing kissyface with a dictator also means helping him bootstomp his people – and that will always backfire when the dictator gets overthrown because the people will remember. Not to mention that ‘trade’ is never really ‘free’ in this world. Most trade the Us does now is based entirely on the dollar’s status as reserve currency – and that status is entirely dependent on the US serving as military guarantor of ‘freedom of navigation’ in international waters and through various chokepoints (like Straits of Hormuz, Suez, etc) which is what pulls the US into our military interventions.

        1. ‘trade’ is never really ‘free’ in this world. Most trade the Us does now is based entirely on the dollar’s status as reserve currency – and that status is entirely dependent on the US serving as military guarantor of ‘freedom of navigation’ in international waters and through various chokepoints

          very good point.

          Its basically consistent with my point about how the libertarian ideal of this ‘freely-trading neutrality’ is really 100% dependent on the existence of the US as a hegemonic military superpower. Or at least *someone* in the world playing that role.

          1. Maybe most libertarians, like me, need to realize libertarianism is a mostly American born, and currently mostly American practiced, idea that really only applies to our own government and its actions. Not foreign governments or affairs.

            It’s part of why I was ok with a temporary travel ban and am ok with securing the borders. Because I don’t believe my libertarian beliefs should apply to people whose governments, and themselves, don’t appreciate or recognize them. If mexicans, or syrians, or iraqis, or whoever, want treated like they’re American citizens without going through the process of becoming one they should fight for their home countries govts and rights to be more like us. Not stand on our doorstep ringing the doorbell constantly, kicking the door jam, jiggling the knob, causing a ruckus, and then blaming us for being insensitive.

            The majority of the world’s governments are more self serving than our own, despite our flaws. They’re never going to ascribe to “live and let live” because they don’t even acknowledge that’s possible. It’s like trying to describe a color to a blind person. No reference points means no matter how well you describe it or the examples you give, they’re never going to understand.

            1. most libertarians, like me, need to realize libertarianism is a mostly American born, and currently mostly American practiced, idea that really only applies to our own government and its actions. Not foreign governments or affairs.

              That’s pretty much my view.

              IMO, The NAP does not apply itself well (or ‘at all’) to foreign relations. Or even moving past the NAP… i think libertarians tend to generally prefer simple axiomatic formulae to ‘solve’ issues rather than understand them, and i think this desire tends to force them into stupid postures simply for the sake of validating their theory.

              The NAP a nice guideline-framework for a great many things, but mainly works in that capacity within the context of “as a citizen relates to government, or how the citizen relates to other citizens”

              The NAP does not help with larger questions of “what is a citizen” or “what is a sovereign state” outside of those relationships. Anarcho-commies are quick to point this stuff out, noting that the concept of the state (or property) are themselves ‘rooted in aggression’.

              when it comes to the issue of ‘how sovereign states relate to other states’ (or even what a state chooses to recognize as a fellow-state)…. most libertarian ideas have very little to offer of much use, other than “trade is better than war”. But those sorts of statements aren’t inherently libertarian so much as common sense.

            2. That is a good analysis.

            3. Liberty is a minority preference in the US, and a reviled abomination in the rest of the world.

              Many people around the world see our prosperity, power, and safety and want a piece of that. But they don’t have those things because they hate the principles which gave us those things.

              Culture is a real thing. The US is what it is because of US culture. The rest of the world are what they are because of theirs.

    2. But Ice, clearly we would be helong westernize Japan by pacifistically trading with them no matter what. Imperial Japan would eventually have dismantled their military in favor of Libertopia if only we had done just that.

      1. Yup. Imperial Japan knew and militarily planned an eventual confrontation with the USA. Why would they do that if they could have just traded away their military aggression?

        Imperial Japan had their long-term strategy picked and it was seizing resources, not trading for them.

        North Korea under Kim has their long-term strategy picked and it is whatever benefits their authoritarian regime. Furthermore, NK has attacked the US property and personnel and has actually made threats of attacking the USA with nuclear missiles.

        Imperial Japan learned a valuable lesson that attacking the USA results in your ass being kicked. NK will learn that lesson too if they keep attacking Americans and threatening to nuke the USA.

  12. OT. Is Napolitano back on the air at Fox? If not, why not?

    1. +1

      P.S. Fox isn’t about to admit it was wrong and apologize, but the awkwardness goes away when they bring him back.

      . . . not that I’d know. I don’t really watch Fox unless it’s election night or something.

    2. He was, and to apparently show that he was not sidelined for being a Drumpf-enabling conspiracy nut, he double down on his conspiracy claims.

      http://bit.ly/2oMNxVA

  13. “As Cumings writes, “The simple fact is that Pyongyang would have no nuclear weapons if Clinton’s agreements had been sustained.”

    Bull fckng sht.

    “Decades of embargos and other attempts to isolate North Korea have failed to destabilize the regime or change its policies.”

    Thanks to China, yes.

    Grade A DPRK apologist, right there. The “country’s” predicament is a direct result of the Kim family fanatacism and culture of paranoia they’ve successfully fostered for generations. Kim doesn’t want NK to even begin to turn into SK, and his regime’s and that of its predecessors has engaged the outside world only to sue for resources or, now, hold its neighbors hostage. Enough.

  14. Oh my fucking God.

    I know this is clickbait, but it is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Not even Richman is actually this stupid. Right? This is really just clickbait. Please?

    1. No, he is absolutely this stupid.

  15. [Checks]

    Wow, this is reason.com. Impressed.

  16. You know who else threatened his neighbors?

    1. Just about everybody….?

    2. Hatfields?

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  18. They hate us cause they ain’t us.

    1. They hate us cause they anus?

  19. There’s a guy in my neighborhood flying a Donald Trump flag where you would expect to see the American flag. I’ve never seen anyone flying a flag with a politician’s name on it. It seems so fucking sad.

    1. A cult of nationalism is really only marginally better than a cult of personality. I’m not impressed by people who fly American flags either. Gadsden flags I can respect. At least in that case people are generally swearing allegiance to a set of ideals rather than to a “team”.

      1. Yeah, right. Because the American flag doesn’t encompass a set of ideals.

        Even if they aren’t all my ideals I still respect the idea that out of many we are all still one.

        1. Yeah, right. Because the American flag doesn’t encompass a set of ideals.

          I suppose it used to. We’ve just spent the last 229 years shitting on them. At some point…

        2. What ideals are those? Free shit uber alles? Flying an American flag is pure “Team USA”

          America FUCK YEAH!

          And if this is what “all one” looks like I would hate to see what a divided nation would look like.

          1. Yes.

            America, fuck yeah.

            Coming again to save the motherfucking day.

            Yeah.

  20. It’s never been misunderstood that we would protect our interests. So saying it out loud at every provocative act that North Korea does only creates a self-fulfilling prophecy -they lash out, we talk big, they lash out more, we escalate the rhetoric- it all leads to one inevitable place. North Korea is too isolated, and by choice, for threats to work.

    Something Trump hasn’t apparently realized yet, is that there are certain leaders/nations that like to show how tough they are. He should recognize this since he’s the same way, but he has no self awareness. Not every troop movement, missile test, or provocative statement needs a proportional response. Sometime the hardest thing to do, nothing, is the right thing to do.

    1. I’ve got news for you Josh, NK is a bully looking for negative attention, and/or free shit. They are going to lash out no matter what. They require no provocation.

      1. I don’t disagree, hence the second part of my statement. Problem is, when you respond to every action with saber rattling of your own, you create a momentum toward one inevitable result.

    2. You would a valid point if it wasn’t for the 60 years of prior history, where every possible tactic from ignoring NK through appeasement and provocation has produced no positive results.

      I have no idea what would actually work, but Trump has made one vastly positive change in this situation. He has engaged China directly and from all reports actually has them moving toward engagement with the other region powers, instead of resolutely backing whatever the Norks want to do.

      1. I have no issue with engaging China. Personally, I think there are limitations to that strategy, but by all means, pursue it. That’s not what I was addressing. I’m not sure how 60 years disproves what I’ve said, which is mainly that you don’t escalate the situation just because some nations want to throw tantrums. Perhaps part of the problem is that we assume there must be a way forward that produces the results we desire rather than results we can live with.

  21. Yes, Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather before him, is a tyrant. But when has that ever stopped an American president from dealing with?and often befriending?a ruler?

    You know what does stop us from dealing with people? When they violate every single treaty or agreement they’ve ever made with us, when they engage in aggressive military action against other nations, and when they threaten to lob a nuke at us, then test said nukes to show their commitment to doing so. If there’s one thing that the Kim family has demonstrated over the last 60 years, it’s that negotiation with them is pointless because there is no agreement that we can trust them to honor…and that they attack when they see an opening.

    There are times when wars are justified. This is one of them. As soon as Kim started threatening to lob nukes at us and then started testing delivery platforms, military action against them became a matter of self-defense. We’re not going to let him continue to develop nuclear weapons so he has a better shot at us.

    1. According to Richman, and apparently some idiots posting here, it’s still important to ignore all of that like it isn’t happening. People like that get other people killed in large numbers if you listen to them.

  22. Cumings is not very respected by many people on both sides of the aisle, and is often regarded as a revisionist and apologist for North Korean human rights abuses.

    1. Therefore he is the only one who can be trusted
      /mtrueman

  23. I hesitate to offer any commentary because this is clearly a situation where libertarian principle leaves one wanting.

    But reading the commentary here has been enlightening and rewarding. Wish I could say the same about the article.

    (Yes, editors I’m talking to you.)

    1. This is all about simple understanding of human nature. When you have greedy preorder fucks threatenin you, cheating you at every opportunity, and threatening to kill their neighbors who are your friends, you eventually have to deal with them. NK ultimately needs to get slapped down, and slapped down hard. They see everything else as weakness. That Richman sees them as an aggrieved party is almost as laughable as he is.

    2. Libertarian principles also require people play by the same rules.

      NK is not. Plus, they have already attacked US personnel and property and are lobbing missiles at the USA.

      I actually think we can avoid war with NK by pressuring China to do our dirty work.

  24. Obama makes $400K for speech at A&E event

    During the event, the former president was asked what he missed most about the White House

    “The basketball court. That’ll be $750, please.”

  25. I really love all the transference here. From author on down. What cadre of State Department superstars in waiting.
    Guess you all have had the high level briefings on the issue?

  26. It’s fascinating to me how Sheldon Richman can wrap perfectly coherent points (war in the Korean peninsula would suck, millions of people will likely die in Seoul) in an idiotic article rife with pig-ignorance of basic diplomacy and his constant and dishonest apologia and optimism for non-American governments.

    1. Well, look who’s popped in. Hope you are well, John Titor.

    2. Speaking of communist apologist!

  27. I came across this piece in al-Jazeera about North Korea but one Lankov:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indep…..24471.html

    “…Many government-appointed managers at North Korean state factories have basically become private entrepreneurs, and have made themselves rich (by this country’s very modest standards). In the process they have also contributed to their country’s slow-motion economic revival.

    When it comes to the economy, the market works in North Korea as well as it does in many other parts of the world. It brings growth, but it also brings a large amount of income inequality and social tensions with it too.”

    He wrote the article in 2014. Check these growth rates:

    http://www.tradingeconomics.co…..rowth-rate

    Although I wonder what they were doing in 2008.

    1. I think I also came across the al-Jazeera piece, about how their growth is largely due to a thriving black market . I would have thought that Reason readers would celebrate the introduction of private enterprise in a communist country. Instead, I see only insistence, with only the most laughable evidence, that North Korea is as poor and weak as they’ve ever been. Malnutrition or not, I suspect that North Korea would make a surprisingly formidable enemy. If malnourished Taleban and Hezbollah militias can send the US military packing, imagine what North Korea could do. They even have aircraft, submarines and nukes at their disposal. Americans have never had a dust up with such a well equipped foe.

      1. We have never been ‘sent packing’. You have no real concept of our military and it’s capabilities. I NK started a war, it would be the end of them. Especially with a president who isn’t a pussy at the helm.

      2. Why would they have a black market that is so prevalent if their economy is humming along?

        Black markets are barely tolerated in NK probably because the lower border guards are accepting bribes, so the black market is hard to stop.

        Black markets are signs of serious issues. The USA has a black market in drugs because the war on drugs is an issue and prohibition on consumables does not work. NK has a black market because their system does not provide what the people want. Hence, the black market demand for food and items that are not readily available in NK.

  28. I hope everyone had a nice weekend. This is a great article by Sheldon Richman. A war with North Korea would be a terrible thing. I hope there are enough reasonable heads in the Trump administration to steer him away from such a debacle. Peace.

    1. If there is a war with NK it will be their own doing. China already offered them a deal to give them a mutual defense pact in exchange for them turning over their nuclear and ICBM programs.

  29. There’s lot of wishful thinking in this article and lack of history. First off declassified Russian (Soviet) archives confirmed that the unprovoked invasion of South Korea by the north was planned and supported by Stalin and Mao. It was deliberate, strategic and intended to conquer South Korea and make it a communist state. Unfortunately the US had expressed some ambiguity about its commitment to South Korea which was a blunder. The only twist was that Stalin double crossed Mao and did not send ground troops, but let Mao suffer the huge losses in his army.

    So the Korean War was a necessary and just defense against an out and out communist conquest, and one that saved millions of Koreans from a terrible fate.

    Second off read some of the recent books about North Korea. It is not a simple tyranny, it has an ideology and the three Kims have created a form of religion with themselves as Gods leading a chosen pure race with a divine destiny to unite all Koreans under their rule.

    Kim Jong-Un will never ever give up his nuclear weapons program.

    The Kims have cheated and broken every promiseL

    Reasonable people can don’t differ on how to deal with North Korea. For myself I am baffled at how they can be getting all the special materials and components to make their misses and other weapons. Somebody is sending them very specialized equipment. Cut that off. Let they use up their missiles. Get the Russians and China to agree. Starve them of the inputs to make weapons.

  30. The people in North Korea (as distinct from the Kim regime) have nothing to lose but their chains.

  31. North Korea is a hermit kingdom and a Chinese puppet state. We cannot collaborate with their “tyrant” (or not as effectively) as we would with Saudia Arabia or Russia, who allow our troops passageway or to set up bases on their soil because they have something to gain – oil business, fighting off a common enemy, etc.

    North Korea isn’t like Cuba or Iraq. None of their baseball stars will ever defect to South Korea because getting caught is almost certain death, and getting caught in China means either death or life in the gulags. Kim Jong Un is actually what most libs think Trump is – an emotionally unstable madman with fingers hovering over buttons. And there aren’t sectarian violence or extremists in his country who will keep him honest. The Kim family are a rough equivalent of the Japanese emperor, who brainwashed people into thinking that they were deity in the flesh.

    Kim doesn’t actually have to land a missile on Tokyo or Seoul to destabilize the region. If one of their nuclear plant melts down like Chernobyl, SK will be effected. Any turmoil in NK will lead to Chinese intervention, which is not what Japan wants.

    Kim took out his brother in broad daylight in front of cameras. He’s definitely more unstable than his father and grandfather, and rumored to be less cooperative with China. He’s sabre rattling for the time being, but other than China he’s not under anyone’s thumb or public sentiment.

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  34. Sheldon should brush up on his history. This screed is filled with revisionism and half-truths. Sad.

  35. As Cumings writes, “The simple fact is that Pyongyang would have no nuclear weapons if Clinton’s agreements had been sustained.”

    “Simple fact?” Where did this story come from, the North Korean Ministry of Public Affairs?

    Reason Staff: please do not insult us by carrying water for this cluster fuck of a country.

  36. talking hasn’t worked and neither has paying them off like Clinton did that only embolden them. talking to them is like talking to a liberal

  37. Umm, North Korea started detonating nuclear weapons in 1998. The Framework didn’t do shit.

  38. RE: Talk to, Don’t Provoke, North Korea

    Ummm…no.
    You can’t talk to sociopaths like Dear Leader Porkface any more than you could talk to Hitler.
    The best thing to do is get the PRC to give NK a good talking to if NK doesn’t quit playing with nukes.
    The PRC is the only political entity that NK fears.

  39. the NKOR has proven untrustworthiness, they played the dumbocrats like a fiddle..WAKE UP!!!!!

  40. Sheldon, you have no clue what is really going on,..thank god our idiot press it out of this one.

  41. Sheldon, you have no clue what is really going on,..thank god our idiot press it out of this one.

  42. Sheldon, you have no clue what is really going on,..thank god our idiot press it out of this one.

  43. I posit that South Korean’s were quite foolish not to move much of Seoul (it’s wealth and population anyway) further south over the decades they had to do so. I have little sympathy for those who stay in stupid places.

  44. Great article about the Talk to, Don’t Provoke, North Korea.

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